State of the Union Preview 2014

By: April Ryan, aprildryan.com | AURN

The themes for the 2014 State of the Union are “opportunity, action and optimism” according to Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama.

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President

A large part of the State of the Union is driven by the voices that come into the White House to include the ten letters the President reads daily. In those letters, many folks express how tough times are for them with job losses and lack of an Extension for Unemployment Insurance. Those letters have sparked a White House Summit this Spring. Senior Advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett contends, “Many of the people in the box [First Ladies Box] reflect the President’s commitment to do right by.” Jarrett contends women are a large piece of that equation especially as the President saw the struggles of his mother, “a single mom” and his grandmother who hit a “glass ceiling.” Jarrett says, ”Disproportionately our low wage workers are women. They are struggling, taking care of their parents; they’re trying to be the backbone and the strength. We need to think about them. That is why we are having a Working Families Summit in the Spring. The President’s Tuesday Night State of the Union Address comes the day after the one year anniversary of the shooting death of Chicago teen Hadiya Pendelton. The 15-year-old majorette marched in the Inauguration Parade in front of the White House Presidential review stand. She was fatally shot days later in Chicago.

Last year, at the end of the President’s speech there was a strong focus on urging Congress to pass new gun control laws. That did not happen. So will there be anything on gun laws in the Tuesday night speech? Valerie Jarrett says, “We have taken well over 20 executive actions” over the last year…We think congress should pass sensible gun legislation.” Jarrett says the administration is “not going to give up” and will work state by state with Governors and legislators to pass gun legislation. LISTEN:

John Hudak is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute.

John Hudak is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute.

John Hudak of the Brookings Institute says the President might address Gun Control in his speech but feels the President should “avoid the topic” as “Republicans in the House and Senate and well financed interest groups are not willing to allow gun legislation to pass at the Federal level, gun legislation in any form.”

Hudak believes any achievement President Obama will have on gun control will come from the state level. There is a drawback to that approach. Hudak along with some high ranking White House sources contend gun laws made state by state will not allow for uniformity in gun legislation in this nation. LISTEN:

Within the past six weeks some of the parents of the Newtown shooting visited the White House. And this weekend, news dominated about the fatal shooting at the Columbia, Mall in Suburban Baltimore. Three people were killed including the gunman.


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